Chronic Illness, Chronic Guilt and the Holidays

Is there ever a time of the year that chronically ill moms feel more guilty than the holiday season?

It started for me right before Thanksgiving.  I was attending Tyler’s Thanksgiving party and some of the moms were talking about all they had to do for the holiday.  Go to the supermarket, buy this, make their side dishes a couple of days earlier, the turkey on Thanksgiving day, etc.  I said to my friend who knows of my illness, “I don’t know how you do it” and another mom spoke up and said, “You just do, you’re in survival mode”.

And I felt the tears welling up in my eyes because what they were discussing was impossible for me and I felt so useless in my role as Woman of the Household.  As my husband and I drove home from the party, I let the tears flow.

No matter how much I have simplified my holidays over the last nearly eight years, even the things I have to do exhaust me.  I don’t give gifts to anyone except my child and gifts for the teachers and mailman.  Anyone who doesn’t like that does not have to give me a present.

But with a child there are some things that simply must be done.  Wrapping his gifts, buying a tree, decorating it and making Christmas as amazing as I can for him.

For the first time in two years this year, I did feel well enough to take Tyler to see Santa and have his pictures taken for Christmas cards.  It was also the first time in two years that I am sending Christmas cards out.  Again, if you don’t want to send me a card because I am not giving you one, that’s fine with me.

I did manage to do the above but at what cost to my health and how many days did  I need to recover from it?

For Christmas, my mother and brother and his wife are coming.  I am going to order the dinner.  It still will be an exhausting day and then I even pondered going to church.  I have never been able to take Tyler even though we are raising him as a Catholic.  Going to church would mean dressing Tyler and I up and getting up earlier, getting up instead of going back to sleep to let my pain meds kick in. Opening presents, entertaining…just thinking about is exhausting to me.

I write this post, not just for encouragement, not for that at all, actually, but for all the Moms who read this and say “Me too.  How am I going to get through this”?

And I do thank God that I was able to take Tyler to see Santa and have Christmas cards done. I am aware of all the Moms who are sicker than me who cannot do any of the things I mention and count my blessings this year.

Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got some Christmas cards to write and some wrapping to do. Take it easy.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.

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